March 23-25, 2018
*schedule subject to change

Friday, March 23 | Saturday, March 24 | Sunday, March 25 | Bridging the Gap

Friday, March 23

9:00am-10:30am: Welcome and Featured Speaker

Metropolitan Ballroom: The Power of Kindness - How Teaching and Practicing Empathy Can Change the World
Houston Kraft, Leadership Trainer, Co-Founder, Character Strong

Houston is a speaker, leadership trainer, and kindness advocate who has shared his message of compassion and inclusion to over 500 schools or groups in the last seven years. Since 2016, he has co-founded CharacterStrong – a research-based organization that creates curricula and trainings to help schools and communities across the globe weave social-emotional learning techniques into the daily fabric of their campus or classroom. Houston will introduce attendees to tools and techniques that can transform their players into kind and caring individuals who are driven by the desire to positively impact their communities, and beyond.    

10:45am-12:00pm: Workshops 

  • Gallery 1: Using Art to Make Soccer "Sticky" - America SCORES and the Power of Poetry
    • Bethany Henderson, National Network President, America SCORES
    • Sean Hinkle, Chief Program Officer, DC SCORES
    • Charity Blackwell, Director of Writing, DC SCORES
  • Gallery 6: LGBTQIA Equity Within Organizations
    • Dr. Sarah Tillery, Dean of Engineering & Industrial Technology, Portland Community College
  • Gallery 7: PLAYce-making Through Community
    • Charles Hansen, Director, The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club of Irving
    • Ted Friedman, Associate Director of Project Management, KaBOOM!
  • Gallery 8: Eight Tips for Designing an Inclusive Youth Recreation Program
    • Steve Slowinski, National Inclusion Manager, Partners for Youth with Disabilities 
  • West End: Technical Development with Only a Soccer Ball
    • Brent Boone, Technical Director, Pelota Training
    • Mike Mastrantuono, Director of Coaching, Pelota Training

12:00pm-1:15pm: Lunch & Plenary Session 

Lunch will be served and we will celebrate the winners of the 2nd Annual Urban Soccer Symposium Influence and Impact Awards.

Metropolitan Ballroom: Youth Empowerment, Art, and Soccer: A Collaboration Between South Bronx United, Guggenheim Social Practice, and Marc Bamuthi Joseph
Andrew So, Executive Director, South Bronx United
Marc Bamuthi Joseph, Chief of Program and Pedagogy, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts

This interactive presentation will combine a video, performance, and a panel style Q&A to showcase an exciting collaboration between South Bronx United, the Guggenheim Museum, and artist Marc Bamuthi Joseph. The initiative, titled “moving and passing,” engaged youth in a five-week summer program that examines the cultural complexities of soccer, including ways in which the global sport may be used to connect young people with the arts, and bring awareness to issues facing immigrant communities. The session will explore the origins of this unique partnership and resulting curriculum, which were funded by the Edmond de Rothschild Foundations, as well as provide an opportunity for attendees to hear from students that participated in the program.

1:30pm-3:00pm: Panel Series

Gallery 1: Transforming Communities Through Safe Play Spaces
Dot Rhyne, Development Officer, Fields & Futures
David DeLeon, Chairman of Soccer Across America, US Youth Soccer
Toya Williford, Director of Programs & Policy, Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City
Kyle Smallwood, Chief Operating Officer, Ace Surfaces, Inc.
Moderated by: Alex Bard, Grants & Compliance Manager, U.S. Soccer Foundation                                 

This panel will highlight unique play spaces that are transforming under-resourced communities across the country. Experts on the panel will discuss their approach to engaging key stakeholders to leverage safe play spaces as a community hub that creates access and opportunities for our nation’s most vulnerable youth. Attendees will leave with the tools that they need to create similar results in their respective communities.

West End: Stories of Engagement: How the World's Biggest Soccer Establishments are Leveraging Soccer for Social Change
Carlos Perez, Chief Executive Officer, La Liga - U.S. Office
Mariona Miret Gaspa, Program Manager, FC Barcelona Foundation
Brad Rothenberg, Co-Founder, Alianza de Futbol
Moderated by: Michael Vaughan-Cherubin, Assistant Director of National & Regional Partnerhips, U.S. Soccer Foundation

This panel will provide a platform for these international and domestic soccer institutions to share the work they are doing to leverage soccer to positively impact youth in their communities, and the community-based organizations and local initiatives that they support. The panelists will also outline the strategy and tactics they use to expand their youth player pools.  

District 1&2: Inclusion: Making the Beautiful Game Truly Accessible
Mary McVeigh, Co-Founder & Executive Director, Soccer Without Borders
Skye Arthur-Banning, Ph.D., Head of Officiating, International Federation of Cerebral Palsy Football
Steve Slowinski, National Inclusion Manager, Partners for Youth with Disabilities
Dr. Sarah Tillery, Dean of Engineering & Industrial Technology, Portland Community College
Moderated by: Megan Bartlett, Founder, WeCoach

This panel will feature experts from organizations across the country that are ensuring soccer is made accessible for all children. Join this discussion to hear how these unique organizations are taking a creative approach to remove potential barriers to play, and to ensure that their programming is made available to every child, no matter what. Attendees will learn best practices and leave with the tools they need to provide truly inclusive sports-based youth development programming.  

3:15pm-4:30pm: Workshops

  • Gallery 1: Trauma-Informed Sports Programs: Creating Healing Environments for Refugee and Immigrant Youth
    • Mary McVeigh, Co-Founder & Executive Director, Soccer Without Borders
    • Megan Bartlett, Founder, WeCoach
  • Gallery 6: Board Governance: The Context for Innovative Board Leadership
    • Elizabeth Scott, Chief Executive Officer, Brighter Strategies
  • Gallery 7: The Power of Kindness - How Teaching and Practicing Empathy Can Change the World (continued)
    • Houston Kraft, Leadership Trainer, Co-Founder, Character Strong
  • Gallery 8: Ask, Listen, Encourage 
    • Katie Lee, Director of Sports, Fitness, & Recreation, Boys & Girls Clubs of America 
  • West End: Coaching for Character
    • Diana Cutaia, Founder, Coaching Peace, LLC
    • Suzanne Sillett, Director of Education & Quality, Coaching Corps 

5:30pm-7:30pm: 6th Annual Poster and Networking Session, Sponsored by Northwestern Mutual -  K Street Financial Group

Stoney's on L: 2101 L Street NW, Washington, D.C.

Appetizers will be served and attendees will have an opportunity to network, share best practices, and learn about exciting advances in the field of sports-based youth development. 

Saturday, March 24

9:00am-10:15am: Featured Speaker

Metropolitan Ballroom: Once Upon a Pitch: Using Your Story to Connect Supporters to Your Cause  
Mark Dessauer, Vice President of Learning, Spitfire Strategies

Stories are a powerful tool for capturing attention, engaging an audience, and motivating people to act. As humans learn more about how the brain works, we are also discovering that stories are intrinsic to decision-making and play a critical role in shaping our view of the world. In this session, Spitfire’s Mark Dessauer will showcase how to use the power of storytelling to craft the perfect elevator speech and master other communication techniques to help their programs connect with funders both old and new. 

10:30am-11:45am: Workshops

  • Gallery 6: Motivation: Creating a Culture of Motivated Youth
    • Pam Herath, Director of Curriculum & Programming, Strive Leadership
  • Gallery 7: Using the Grassroots Festival Design to Improve Coaches, Players, and Parents in your Community*
    • Jene' Baclawski, Technical Director of Education, South Texas Youth Soccer
    • Jennifer Davis, Executive Director, South Texas Youth Soccer 
  • Gallery 8: Creating Better Relationships Between Law Enforcement, Youth, and the Community
    • Christopher Hill, President & Chief Executive Officer, National Association of Police Athletic/Activities League
  • West End: Managing the Mental Side of Soccer: On-Field Exercises to Enhance Emotional Control
    • Lindsey Hamilton, Mental Performance Coach, IMG Academy

11:45am-1:15pm: Lunch and Plenary Session

Lunch will be served and we will celebrate the winner of the 2nd Annual Urban Soccer Symposium Innovation Award.

Metropolitan Ballroom: Fearless Conversations: Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone to Really Help Kids
Irving C. Jones, Sr., Ph.D., Educator & Leadership Coach

Dr. Irving C. Jones, Sr., spent 34 years in Public Education, and since 2009, has served as a Senior Consultant for the International Center for Leadership in Education. In 2002, he was named the Outstanding High School Principal for Virginia, and in 2003, the NASSP/MetLife National Principal of the Year. In October 2017, Dr. Jones’ first book was published with his co-author Dr. Vera Blake, titled “Fearless Conversations School Leaders Have to Have." This session will explore the powerful role sports play in meeting the needs of today’s youth, and will inspire attendees to develop the tools that they need to be fearless leaders for their youth and communities.

1:30pm-3:00pm: Panel Series

Gallery 1: Individual Impact Investors: What Motivates Major Donors to Give
Aranthan (AJ) Jones II, Chief of Staff, W.K. Kellogg Foundation 
Kurt Rupprecht, Wealth Management Advisor, Northwestern Mutual – K Street Financial Group 
Josh Frazier, Co-Owner, Urban Soccer Park 
Moderated by: Patricia Arty, Assistant Director of Strategic Partnerships, U.S. Soccer Foundation & Darcy Levit, Senior Major Gifts Officer, U.S. Soccer Foundation 

Individual, corporate, and foundation funders are solicited by countless charities.  In this Q&A panel, attendees will have the opportunity to ask specific questions to experienced philanthropists who will provide insight into what is important when designating their sizable contributions.  Learn directly from major donors about what motivates them to make impact investments in the non-profit organizations that they care about the most.

Gallery 7: Community, Collaboration, and Communication
Stephanie McArdle, Executive Director, Beyond Soccer 
Luciano Zamora, Co-Founder President, East San Jose FC
Hillary Beehler, Executive Director, Washington Youth Soccer Foundation 
Moderated by: Tom Condone, General Manager – South Region, US Youth Soccer 

This session will highlight the U.S. Soccer Foundation’s collective effort to Bridge the Gap through a variety of strategies. Bridging the Gap is about giving all youth access to the same types of outlets, services, and quality programs, regardless of resources, region, or demographics. Presenters will frame an engaging dialogue by providing promising practices on how best to communicate and collaborate with local communities. Attendees will walk away with practical solutions that can be implemented in their own communities.  

West End: Data for Good: How Data Drives Programmatic Success in Sports-Based Youth Development  
Stephen Minix, Executive Director, UpMetrics 
Shannon Schneeman, Executive Director, America SCORES New York 
Mary McVeigh, Co-Founder & Executive Director, Soccer Without Borders 
Zach Riggle, Assistant Director of Operations, U.S. Soccer Foundation

Access to data is transforming the way sports-based youth development (SBYD) programs operate and obtain funding. With engagement data, programmers can increase internal capacity and efficiently measure outcomes, leaving Foundations better equipped to identify and invest in quality programming. In this panel session, moderated by UpMetrics, experts will share how SBYD programmers are coming together to build a strong data sharing ecosystem to drive community impact. 

3:00pm-3:30pm: Networking Break
Attendees will have the opportunity to re-charge, network, and share their learnings- light refreshments will be served. 

3:30pm-4:45pm: Workshops

  • Gallery 6: Corporate Engagement: How to Attract Corporations to Invest in Your Organization
    • Tony Lynch, President, Lynch Pinnacle Group
  • Gallery 7: Alexandria Access4All Project: A Soccer Club, City Government, and School System Unite to Break Down Barriers to Participation*
    • Tommy Park, Executive Director, Alexandria Soccer
    • Dana Wedeles, Principal Planner, Department of Recreation, Parks, & Cultural Activities
    • Kurt Huffman, Director of School, Business, & Community Partnerships, Alexandria City Public Schools
  • Gallery 8: Trauma-Sensitive Practices in Sports-Based Youth Development
    • Kate Sandy, Director of Youth Services, Starfinder Foundation
    • Samantha Swerdloff, Director of Programs, Starfinder Foundation
  • West End: Leading from Within - Leadership Skills for Sports Impact Professionals
    • Meredith Wolff, Co-Director, Sports Impact Leadership Certificate, Johns Hopkins University
    • Janice Simsohn Shaw, Faculty, Sports Impact Leadership Certificate, Johns Hopkins University

Sunday, March 25

9:00am-9:45am: Featured Speakers

Metropolitan Ballroom: Stories from the Field: The Iron Women
Kristine Lilly, Two-Time Olympic Gold Medalist & FIFA Women’s World Cup Champion
Abby Wambach, Two-Time Olympic Gold Medalist, 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup Champion

This Q&A will feature former U.S. Women’s National Team Stars Abby Wambach and Kristine Lilly. Abby will share her personal story and discuss what it took for her to score 184 goals in 256 international matches, becoming the leading all-time international scorer for men and women. Kristine will discuss the commitment it took to represent her country 352 times, a world record for both the women and men. Together they will recount their journey as members of the U.S. Women’s National Team, offer advice and insight for coaches, and share their thoughts on the future of soccer in the United States. 

10:00am-11:15am: Workshops

  • Gallery 6: Pass the Salt: Making a Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Program from Scratch
    • Courtney Smith, Digital Marketing Specialist, Friends of the National Zoo, National Zoological Park, Smithsonian Institute
    • Amy Symonds, Development Associate, U.S. Soccer Foundation
  • Gallery 8: What is a Blue Card? Design Innovations for Social Impact, a Practical Guide
    • Lawrence Cann, Founder & President, Street Soccer USA
  • West End: Activate Your Own Sweat for Good!
    • Nini Meyer, Founder & Chief Executive Officer, Positive Tracks
    • Rachel Wood, Challenges Coordinator, Positive Tracks
    • Liz Gray, Challenges Manager, Positive Tracks

11:30am-12:45pm: Workshops

  • Gallery 6: Engaging Volunteers and Families in Wellness
    • Daniel Hatcher, Director, Community Partnerships, Alliance for a Healthier Generation
    • Annessa Bontrager, Manager, Healthy Out-of-School Time
  • Gallery 8: Taking Sports-Based Youth Development Evaluation to the Next Level: Experiences Implementing a Randomized Control Trial
    • Brendan McAlpine, Program Director, Urban Initiatives
    • Mary Clair Turner, Research Fellow, UChicago Urban Labs
  • West End: "Everything that Goes on in the Match": Teaching the Game through Rondos 
    • Brendan Grady, Program Director, Chester Upland Youth Soccer

12:45pm-2:00pm: Featured Speakers & Closing

Metropolitan Ballroom: Stories from the Field: Next Steps for the Men's National Team
Kasey Keller, Former U.S. Soccer Star, 2015 National Soccer Hall of Fame Inductee
Edson Buddle, Former U.S. Soccer Star, Two-Time Major League Soccer All Star 

This Q&A will feature former Men's National Team Stars, Kasey Keller and Edson Buddle. Kasey will discuss what it took to become the most-capped goalkeeper in the U.S. Men's National Team, as well as his experience playing in La Liga, the English Premier League, and the Bundesliga. Edson will discuss his journey from the A-League, to the national stage at the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Together, they will share their experience navigating soccer in the United States, the impact that the coaches the experienced had on their lives, and their thoughts on the direction of U.S. Soccer. 

Bridging the Gap Track

Saturday, March 24


  • Gallery 7: Using the Grassroots Festival Design to Improve Coaches, Players, and Parents in your Community
    • Jene' Baclawski, Technical Director of Education, South Texas Youth Soccer
    • Jennifer Davis, Executive Director, South Texas Youth Soccer


  • Gallery 7: Bridging the Gap: Community, Collaboration, and Communication
    • Stephanie McArdle, Executive Director, Beyond Soccer
    • Luciano Zamora, Co-Founder & President, East San Jose FC
    • Hillary Beehler, Executive Director, Washington Youth Soccer Foundation
    • Facilitator: Tom Condone, General Manager - South Region, US Youth Soccer
  • Gallery 7: Alexandria Access4All Project: A Soccer Club, City Government, and School System Unite to Break Down Barriers to Participation
    • Tommy Park, Executive Director, Alexandria Soccer Association
    • Dana Wedeles, Principal Planner, Department of Recreation, Parks, & Cultural Activities
    • Kurt Huffman, Director of School, Business, & Community Partnerships, Alexandria City Public Schools

Our Partners

  • adidas

    adidas, the Foundation's Safe Places to Play - Mini-Pitch Partner, supports providing children in underserved communities with safe play spaces nationwide. adidas strives to be the globally leading and most popular sporting goods brand. Dedicated to innovation,  adidas embraces creativity and seeks to be socially responsible in all facets of its brand. For more information, please visit adidas.com.

  • APT

    APT (Advanced Polymer Technology), the Foundation’s Partner for Acrylic Coating Products, is a global leader in high performance sports surfaces. APT provides people around the world with safe, reliable, performance enhancing surfaces. APT’s Laykold Masters acrylic surfacing system will be the official surface of an estimated 500 mini-pitches. For more information on APT, please visit www.sportsbyapt.com.

  • AstroTurf

    For athletes and soccer enthusiasts, AstroTurf® is redefining how synthetic soccer fields are built and perform. The brand offers advanced, state-of-the-art synthetic turf systems with proprietary engineered technologies. A growing number of clubs, high schools, colleges, professional sports teams and municipalities continue to select AstroTurf’s LigaTurf-branded products for their premium quality, technical superiority, and safety. To learn more, visit the company’s recently redesigned website, www.astroturf.com/soccer. - See more at: https://ussoccerfoundation.org/article/astroturf-partners-with-the-u.s.-soccer-foundation-as-a-national-partner-for-field-building-program#sthash.FL8E8bAM.dpuf

  • CHA

    CHA Sports, the Foundation's Supplier for Soccer Facility Design and Planning Services, provides community partners with expertise in soccer facility design. CHA Sport's full service approach allows the company to build world-class projects without breaking budgets. For more information, please visit chacompanies.com

  • The DICK'S Sporting Goods Foundation

    DICK’S Sporting Goods and The DICK’S Sporting Goods Foundation believe that participation in sports makes people better. Since 2014, DICK’S and The DICK’S Foundation have pledged more than 0 million to support youth sports teams and leagues in need.  Through our Sports Matter initiative we strive to increase awareness for underfunded youth athletics nationwide and provide much-needed support through equipment, uniform and monetary donations. For more information on Sports Matter, visit SportsMatter.org.

  • Hunter

    Hunter Industries, the Foundation's National Partner for Irrigation Equipment, is one of the world's leading manufacturers of irrigation equipment for turf, landscape and soccer fields.  Hunter Industries' focus is on landscape irrigation with a significant part of its business centering on the proper care and maintenance of sports turf. For more information, please visit hunterindustries.com. Please contact Lynda Wightman, 406-273-3073, lynda.wightman@hunterindustries.com with any questions regarding the U.S. Soccer Foundation's grants program.

  • Johnson & Johnson

    Johnson & Johnson, the Foundation’s grant partner, is dedicated to supporting the next generation of female leaders by providing greater access to girls’ youth soccer programming in underserved communities nationwide. As the world’s largest and most broadly based healthcare company, Johnson & Johnson strives to create healthier communities, and put a healthy mind, body and environment within reach of everyone, everywhere. For more information, please visit www.jnj.com.

  • Kwik Goal

    Kwik Goal, the Foundation’s Official Supplier for goals, seating, boundary equipment, training equipment and coaching accessories, will be supporting a variety of Foundation programs and initiatives including: Soccer for Success, National Training and the Safe Places to Play program. Over thirty years ago, Kwik Goal was founded on the revolutionary concept of providing transportable goals for coaches at all age levels. Since that time, Kwik Goal has continued to focus on helping coaches and soccer programs create safe and dynamic learning environments by supplying high quality, safety tested soccer goals, field equipment and training equipment to the domestic and international market. For more information, please visit Kwikgoal.com.


    MLS WORKS, Major League Soccer's community outreach initiative, is dedicated to addressing important social issues and serves as a platform for both League and club philanthropic programs. MLS WORKS seeks to establish Major League Soccer as a leader for improving the lives of people through sport. MLS WORKS is committed to improving the communities where we live and play our games by executing national programs and legacy projects, charitable giving campaigns, and undertaking various initiatives in underserved communities.

  • Musco

    As a proud corporate partner of the U.S. Soccer Foundation, Musco is dedicated to helping the major charitable arm of American soccer create new opportunities through high-quality sports lighting. Their Total Light Control—TLC for LED™ technology is engineered as a system with lighting, structural, and electrical components designed to work together for streamlined installation and long-term reliability. TLC for LED delivers superior field lighting while eliminating glare and spill from impacting surrounding neighborhoods. And Musco’s long-term warranty covering parts and labor means U.S. Soccer Foundation partners don’t have to handle any maintenance on their system, or pay for it, for 25 years. Visit https://ussoccerfoundation.org/grants/ to learn more about the grant program and application process.

  • SCORE Sports

    SCORE Sports, the preferred provider of shin guards to the Foundation’s Soccer for Success program, is a family-owned and operated business specializing in sports equipment, uniforms and apparel. SCORE is an industry leader and has been involved in the sports community for over 40 years. SCORE outfits athletes with high-quality uniforms that SCORE develops, designs and manufactures in the U.S. SCORE takes pride in working with various non-profit groups and causes to give back to athletes who may need some extra support to play the game they love. SCORE is environmentally cautious with the materials it uses for its products and does its part in minimizing our environmental footprint. SCORE proudly offers a wide variety of products to provide customers with a one-stop shop for all your soccer needs. For more information, please visit scoresports.com.

  • Soccer.com

    Soccer.com, the Foundation's National Partner for Soccer Equipment and Uniforms, was founded in 1984 to provide high quality soccer gear at reasonable prices through its nationally circulated catalog. Soccer.com embodies a passion for the game that extends to the people who play, coach and support soccer. For more information, please visit soccer.com.

  • Target

    Target announced a national partnership with Safe Spaces to Play in 2017, along with a million commitment to build 100 new soccer play spaces with the U.S. Soccer Foundation by 2020. This is the latest initiative in the Minneapolis-based retailer’s multi-dimensional approach to the sport of soccer, bringing the game to more kids and families across the country, and unlocking access and increasing involvement at all levels.

  • TGI Worldwide

    TGI Worldwide, the Foundation’s National Partner for Visual Branding (Signage, Event Décor, Pageantry, Sponsorship Activation), Perimeter Field Board Systems, Creative Services and Event Operations is proud to support a variety of initiatives and programs throughout the United States. Headquartered in the U.S., TGI is an internationally recognized sports marketing company delivering high profile Visual Branding, Live Event Management, LED, and cutting edge Digital Sports Applications to enrich the experience at major events and deliver commercial impact for sponsors and partners. The company has a 20-year history in providing its various solutions for many top-tier domestic and international events, organizations, teams and companies, with proven success and turn-key solutions across 1000+ events, 160+ cities and 50+ countries globally.

    For more information on our services, please visit https://www.worldwidetgi.com or contact Mike Squire at msquire@worldwidetgi.com / Phone: 312-371-5852.

  • World Soccer Shop

    Launched in 2001, World Soccer Shop is an online soccer retailer based in Birmingham, Alabama. It carries one of the world’s widest selections of officially-licensed products from the sport’s top brands and teams. World Soccer Shop is passionate about soccer and endeavors to spread the beautiful game around the world, especially to those in areas of need. For more information, please visit www.worldsoccershop.com.

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